Fred Warner

NFL Injury Notes: McCaffrey, Texans, Young, Brady, 49ers

Since signing a deal that gave him the highest average salary of any running back in the NFL, Christian McCaffrey has missed 23 of 33 games. From a high ankle sprain to a shoulder injury to a hamstring injury and back around to his ankle again, McCaffrey has seen more than his fair share of the injured reserve. According to Joseph Person of The Athletic, McCaffrey reached out for some help this offseason.

Among a few others, one of the players McCaffrey sought help from was Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk, one of two players who share with McCaffrey the distinction of recording at least 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in a single season, the other being Roger Craig. Faulk was especially healthy later in his career despite having a tendency for a higher amount of total touches as a receiving back, his late health being a trait that McCaffrey would love to emulate.

Person reports that Panthers head coach Matt Rhule indicated McCaffrey would again be held out of the preseason and that the team is also looking into how they use their star during practice. McCaffrey, himself, has been tweaking his own offseason routine, in hopes of reversing his string of bad luck.

Here are a few other injury updates from around the NFL, starting with two out of the Lone Star State:

  • From an interview with Texans head coach Lovie Smith, Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network reports that pass rusher Jonathan Greenard and safety Eric Murray will be ready to return to the field by the time training camp rolls around. Greenard, who led the team in sacks last season with 8.0, underwent foot surgery over the offseason. Murray had shoulder surgery after starting 11 games for Houston last year.
  • The Commanders are expecting former Defensive Rookie of the Year Chase Young to rejoin the team in the next couple of weeks, according to Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post. The young defensive end is coming off an ACL tear he suffered in a Week 10 game against the Buccaneers. Young was having a bit of a sophomore slump last year, only recording 1.5 sacks in nine games of action, but Washington will nonetheless be happy to reunite him with Jonathan Allen, Montez Sweat, and Daron Payne in what may be the NFL’s best all-around pass rushing defensive line.
  • Although not a recent injury, Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady talked about the condition of his left knee in a call with Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times this week. Last offseason saw Brady limited a bit due to surgery he underwent to repair the MCL tear he suffered during his last season in New England. With the injury far in the rearview mirror, Brady has reportedly been doing much more to prepare for the upcoming season this summer, “including some sprint work to help with his mobility.”
  • Cam Inman of the East Bay Times reported an assertion from 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan that San Francisco will likely play it safe and hold out tight end George Kittle and linebacker Fred Warner until training camp. About two of his stars, the sixth-year head coach claimed the team was “being smart” by using a little extra time to allow the two to get over their “lower half” issues.

Injury Updates For 49ers, Buccaneers

While the Buccaneers and 49ers both won on Sunday, they each suffered major injuries in the process. For the 49ers, defensive stars Nick Bosa and Fred Warner both exited the game early; for the Bucs meanwhile, offensive linemen Tristan WirfsRyan Jensen and Josh Wells are all banged up. 

According to Eric Brach of the San Francisco Chronicle, the status for both Bosa and Warner are “up in the air”. Bosa had to leave the game with a concussion suffered in the second quarter, while Warner exited due to an ankle injury in the fourth. In the latter’s case, there is some reason for optimism, though. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said that Warner’s injury is “similar to what he did earlier in the year”, referring to another ankle injury sustained in Week 12 against the Vikings, which resulted in his only missed game of the season. Shanahan added, “I think he’s got a chance” to play on Saturday against the Packers. In his first regular season since signing a record-breaking extension, Warner totalled 137 tackles, four pass deflections and a forced fumble, adding five stops against the Cowboys. The 25-year-old tweeted an encouraging update, saying, “sorry for the scare yesterday everyone… we’ll be good to go”.

For Bosa, on the other hand, a return to the field would be less likely. After colliding with teammate D.J. Jones, his head snapped back, and caused him to lay on the field for a matter of minutes. He was initially taken to the medial tent, but spent the remainder of the first half in the locker room and remained there past the beginning of the third quarter. The fact that the 49ers are on a short week doesn’t help his chances of clearing the league’s concussion protocol. In less than one half of action against Dallas, the two-time Pro Bowler recorded three tackles and a half-sack, after totalling 15.5 sacks and four forced fumbles in 17 regular season games. His absence against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ offense would be massive.

Meanwhile, the Buccaneers will likely have to wait most of the week to see how healthy their offensive line will be. Head coach Bruce Arians stated that Wirfs, the team’s All-Pro right tackle, suffered a sprained ankle and will be in a walking boot throughout the week, according to ESPN’s Jenna Laine. Arians said “there’s a chance” Wirfs will be able to play, but that Laine adds “it will likely come down to the wire”. If the 2020 13th overall pick were to miss the Bucs’ next game, it would be the first of his young career. As for Jensen, the Pro Bowl center, an ankle sprain didn’t cause him to miss any snaps in the game, but Arians said he “will probably go all the way until Friday before we know anything true”. Jensen hasn’t missed a game in his four years in Tampa Bay.

Lastly, Wells, who took over for Wirfs at right tackle, suffered a quad injury. Like the others, Arians admitted the team will “have to wait and see” if he’ll be available on Sunday. Arians is understandably concerned about the offensive line’s current health situation, regardless of their next opponent. The Bucs will need to deal with either a defensive front featuring Chandler Jones and J.J. Watt if the Cardinals win tonight, or one featuring Aaron Donald and Von Miller in the event the Rams win.

 

49ers Rule Out Deebo Samuel, Dre Greenlaw For Week 13

As expected, Deebo Samuel will not play for the 49ers in Week 13. The third-year wide receiver suffered a groin strain and could miss multiple games. San Francisco’s linebacking corps will be shorthanded as well.

Dre Greenlaw, who returned from a lengthy IR stay last week, is back among the 49ers’ inactives. The team ruled out its third-year linebacker starter because of a groin injury.

Samuel has been prone to injuries as a pro. He missed the start of last season because of a Jones fracture in his foot. After returning, the former second-round pick suffered a hamstring injury that led to the then-malady-riddled 49ers shutting him down for the rest of the season.

Sunday will mark Samuel’s 11th missed game as a 49er, though the Pro Bowl-bound talent said during an appearance on CBS Sports HQ this week (via 49ers Webzone) he has no doubt he will be back for Week 14. Through 11 games, Samuel has already cleared 1,000 receiving yards for the first time and has tacked on 203 rushing yards.

This will be Greenlaw’s 10th missed game this season. The 49ers are also likely to be without Fred Warner on their defensive second level. The All-Pro suffered a hamstring strain during San Francisco’s win over Minnesota, and he is doubtful to play Sunday in Seattle. This leaves Azeez Al-Shaair as the 49ers’ lone healthy starter at linebacker.

Additionally, Kyle Shanahan said Dee Ford is unlikely to be activated off IR ahead of Sunday’s game, via the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch. The 49ers designated Ford for return on Nov. 25. He has three weeks from that date to come back. Should Ford’s ramp-up period not include an activation by Dec. 16, he would spend the rest of the season on IR. Ford is attempting to play through a back injury Shanahan has acknowledged will likely plague the oft-injured pass rusher for the rest of his career and beyond.

Latest on 49ers’ Deebo Samuel

In yesterday’s win over the Vikings, Niners’ wide receiver Deebo Samuel left the game with a groin injury. Kyle Shanahan has updated the media with news that Samuel suffered a strain and is expected to miss 1-2 weeks, according to a tweet from Nick Wagoner of ESPN.

Prior to leaving last night, Samuel had been enjoying a breakout year, utilizing health and experience to tally a team-leading 1,006 yards on 56 catches. He’s also currently second on the team in rushing yards with 203. Not to mention, he leads the team in both rushing and receiving TDs with five of each.

While San Francisco still has star tight end George Kittle to rely on, they’ll need second-year receiver Brandon Aiyuk to step up in Samuel’s absence. Shanahan’s update also included news on linebacker Fred Warner who will miss at least this week with a strained hamstring. This is the first game Warner will have missed since being drafted in 2018, snapping a 62-game consecutive start streak (including postseason games). They hope to see him back in action for the Bengals.

Details On Fred Warner’s ‘Unique’ 49ers Extension

Fred Warner agreed to a record-breaking extension with the 49ers on Wednesday. We heard at the time it was for five years and a whopping $95MM, and now we have the full details.

For starters, the contract comes with $40.5MM guaranteed, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports. But beyond that, Rapoport writes that the pact has a “unique structure that essentially makes it two deals in one.” Warner’s contract is for five years, but voids after the first three. He’ll get $54.9MM in new money over those three years, an average of $18.3MM per year.

That’s slightly less than the $19MM per year implied by the 5/95, but it still beats Bobby Wagner‘s 2019 extension ($18MM AAV) to make him the highest-paid inside linebacker in NFL history. Where it gets a bit complicated is that the 49ers can then “buy back” the final two years of the deal after they’ve voided if they choose to, by paying Warner $21.85MM in 2025.

That would mean Warner would get $76.75MM over the first four years, an average of around $19.2MM annually. The way Rapsheet describes it, it’s a “record-breaking short-term extension that’s nearly 70 percent guaranteed” for Warner, that “also gives the 49ers a choice to make a few years down the road.”

Warner was a first-team All-Pro last season and has been an extremely reliable asset for Kyle Shanahan’s defense, playing 95 percent of the snaps the past three years.

49ers, Fred Warner Agree To Record-Breaking Extension

The 49ers have agreed to a five-year, $95MM extension with All-Pro linebacker Fred Warner (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com). The new deal will lock him up through 2026 and make him the highest-paid inside linebacker in NFL history. 

Warner, a former third-round pick from BYU, was previously set to hit the open market next spring. The Niners refused to let him get away, giving him a whopping new deal to top Bobby Wagner as the league’s highest-paid ILB. At least, that’s the mantle he has right now — Colts star Darius Leonard may top him in the coming weeks.

I want to get it done personally,” said head coach Kyle Shanahan in May when asked about a new deal for Warner. “I kind of feel like I’d say the same about him as I did about [George] Kittle when we were talking about it [last year]. I just see that kind of as a matter of time.

I know he’s not going into his free agent year or anything like that, so that’s why it’s not always on my mind. But Fred’s a guy that I plan on being here forever and who has earned that. I’d be surprised if that doesn’t start sooner than later.”

Wagner has a perfect attendance record as a pro, playing 95% of the team’s snaps over the last three years. He earned first-team All-Pro acclaim in 2020, notching 125 tackles and grading as Pro Football Focus’ No. 1 off-ball linebacker (by far).

All along, Warner has said that he wants to be a “Niner for life.” Now, at minimum, he has a deal to cover much of his NFL prime.

Shanahan Expects Fred Warner Extension

Fred Warner has become one of the NFL’s best linebackers. He joins Nick Bosa as a cornerstone front-seven 49ers piece on a rookie contract. Kyle Shanahan expects that status to change in the near future.

One year remains on Warner’s rookie pact. Although the former third-round pick’s salary is set to spike to $3.38MM this season, he will command top-tier off-ball linebacker money on an extension. The 49ers appear prepared to pay him as such.

I want to get it done personally,” Shanahan said of a Warner extension (via NFL.com). “I kind of feel like I’d say the same about him as I did about [George] Kittle when we were talking about it [last year]. I just see that kind of as a matter of time.

I know he’s not going into his free agent year or anything like that, so that’s why it’s not always on my mind. But Fred’s a guy that I plan on being here forever and who has earned that. I’d be surprised if that doesn’t start sooner than later.”

Warner earned first-team All-Pro acclaim in 2020, when he made 125 tackles and graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 1 off-ball linebacker (by far). The 24-year-old defender said Tuesday he wants to be a “Niner for life.”

The 49ers have exclusive negotiating rights with Warner until the start of the 2022 league year next March. They would have the franchise tag at their disposal, should a deal remain elusive. Kittle signed his top-market extension last August, ahead of his fourth season. Warner may be on a similar timetable. No talks have begun just yet, but they appear imminent.

C.J. Mosley‘s $17MM-per-year contract has yet to benefit the Jets, but the 2019 deal changed the market for traditional linebackers. Bobby Wagner then topped it, via an $18MM-AAV pact, later that year. Both Warner and Darius Leonard are entering contract years; one of them will be in line to surpass Wagner’s deal and perhaps become the league’s first $20MM-per-year non-rush ‘backer.

No Contract Talks Yet Between 49ers, Fred Warner

The 49ers, naturally, would like to extend star linebacker Fred Warner, who is eligible for free agency at the end of the 2021 campaign. However, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network says no contract talks have taken place just yet (video link).

That doesn’t mean that negotiations will not commence soon, and look for San Francisco GM John Lynch to do his utmost to keep Warner in the fold for the long haul. The BYU product was selected in the third round of the 2018 draft, and he has played virtually every snap for the Niners over his first three professional seasons.

During that time, Warner has established himself as one of the top off-ball LBs in football. In fact, Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics considered him the best linebacker in the league in 2020, thanks in large part to his stellar 91.1 coverage grade. Warner landed his first Pro Bowl and First Team All-Pro honors for his efforts.

We heard earlier today that Darius Leonard, another premier linebacker taken in the 2018 draft — he was chosen 34 spots ahead of Warner — will not be giving the Colts a hometown discount in his negotiations with the club. Rapoport suggests that both Leonard and Warner have a good chance to eclipse Bobby Wagner‘s $18MM AAV, which currently tops the inside linebacker market.

It will be interesting to see which player signs first, as that player’s deal will likely push the second player’s asking price just a little higher. Leonard and Warner have had similar career trajectories to this point, and though Warner is over a year younger than his Indianapolis counterpart, Leonard has two Pro Bowl bids and two First Team All-Pro honors to his credit. Either way, both players have a good chance of landing massive multi-year deals in the coming months.

49ers To Cut LB Korey Toomer

Signed during a period when Reuben Foster‘s NFL future was in jeopardy, Korey Toomer will not make a 49ers team that will have the services of its top linebacker.

The 49ers will release Toomer as they pare their roster down to 53 players, Matt Barrows of The Athletic tweets.

Toomer is the second notable name the 49ers have parted with recently at linebacker. San Francisco traded former starter Eli Harold to the Lions. Rookie Fred Warner has impressed 49ers brass, per Barrows, leading to the Toomer decision.

Toomer served as a part-time Chargers starter over the past two years. He’s a vested veteran, so he’ll pass through to free agency as a result of this cut.

 

49ers Notes: Rookies, Pettis, Tight End, Garnett

49ers second-round wideout Dante Pettis has an opportunity to contribute right away. Thanks to injuries to Trent Taylor and Marquise Goodwin, the Washington product received plenty of practice reps during OTAs, spending time in the slot and on the outside. While the rookie probably won’t be starting by the time the regular season comes around, the coaching staff is still confident he’ll play a role next season.

“It’s just nice when you have guys who can do different things that you aren’t handcuffed in a game,” head coach Kyle Shanahan told Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee. “Similar to how Aldrick Robinson has been for us. He’s fast enough to do some of that stuff, but he also can do the things that other guys do, which just allows you to overcome. If we could dress 15 receivers every game, none of that stuff would matter. But it’s what you get up on game day and how to get through a game.”

As of right now, Pettis is competing with Robinson, Victor Bolden, and Kendrick Bourne to be the team’s fourth wideout.

Let’s take a look at some more notes out of San Francisco…

  • Moore has notes about some of the team’s other draft picks and their progress during OTAs. The writer observed that third-rounder Fred Warner was starting at one of the team’s two inside linebacker spots, while fifth-round defensive back D.J. Reed should be the team’s backup safety. Moore was predictably impressed by first-round offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey, noting that he was a seamless fit on the offensive line and in the locker room.
  • In his 49ers mailbag, Barrows lists quarterback, offensive tackle, and cornerback as the “most vulnerable” positions. The writer also notes that a Goodwin injury would leave the team with a big hole, as his speed his valuable on offense and (potentially) in the return game.
  • While George Kittle and Garrett Celek will likely see the bulk of the 49ers snaps at tight end, Barrows believes the team will still end up keeping three players at the position. Tight ends coach Jon Embree previously implied that Cole Hikutini was the team’s definitive third tight end, but the 49ers are also rostering Cole Wick and Malcolm Johnson.
  • When asked who his pick would be for a “surprise cut,” Barrows points to offensive guard Joshua Garnett. The 2016 first-round pick started 11 of his 15 games as a rookie, but he missed all of last season after undergoing knee surgery. While the 24-year-old will have to come back from his injury, he’ll also have to hold off a pair of offseason acquisitions in Michael Person and Jonathan Cooper.